Friday, June 21, 2024

How Senate redistricting could make Alabama more gambling friendly

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A seemingly unrelated legal battle playing out in a federal courtroom could have an impact on the future of gambling in Alabama. The case, centered on the potential redrawing of state Senate districts in Montgomery and Huntsville, may hold the key to whether the state legalises casinos, sports betting, or lottery in 2025.

The backdrop for this potential shift lies in the narrow defeat of gambling legislation in the Alabama Senate in April. The bill fell short of passage by a single vote.

Proponents of the legislation, which included both Democrats and Republicans, argued that casinos would generate significant tax revenue for the state, create jobs, and boost tourism. The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama previously reported analysis that showed that gambling could lead to $749m in annual state revenue. Other reports put the total at as much as $1.2 bn.

On the other hand, opponents, primarily on moral grounds, expressed concerns about the potential social ills associated with gambling.

The redistricting case underway challenges the current state Senate district maps, alleging racial gerrymandering. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that the Alabama legislature’s map violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

This November, the subject will return to federal court, as AL.com reports. If the court finds the maps to be unconstitutional, it could order the legislature to redraw the districts.

This redistricting process could alter the makeup of the Senate, potentially creating a more gambling-friendly body. However, there’s still only a slim chance it would make a difference for casino hopes or for state-wide sports betting legalization. “I don’t think we’ll see gambling next year unless it’s lottery only,” Sen. Sam Givhan told AL.com.

Read the full story here.

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